World Naked Bike Ride – News Values

If we are honest, after reading this heading, probably half of us are at this point hoping for titillation. Or I could shorten that last word considerably. Put crudely, ‘News Values’ demand tits.

10,000 marching for Palestine. Perhaps 3,000 Orangemen and women. A thousand or so naked or near naked cyclists. No contest, not even for the BBC. When I switched on Radio 4 for the 10 o’clock news there was only one London event. And there was no one there wearing a burkha.

Naked Bike Ride
We are a culture with a problem. A fixation on TV and in at least the red-top press with sleaze and sexiness. Not of course anything too explicit. I picked up a so-called newspaper on the train on my way home from photographing. Page after page of gossipy snippets about celebrities and their trivial behaviours, the ‘sexy’ dresses they wore or fell out of, their affairs. Not only claiming to be about actual people, although few of them have much relation to their media images, but even about the characters some play in TV shows. It all made such dreary reading.

After that came pages of adverts for so-called adult services, none of which I’ve ever dreamed of paying for, despite being considerably over 21. It was almost a relief to come to the sports pages, where massage probably did mean massage.

Somewhere hidden away in the corner of a page I did find some more real news. Around 50 words on the latest from Iraq. Ditto Iran. Drugs. A judge accused as a flasher.

Papers like that employ journalists to write the crap. Pay photographers to photograph it. Nobody needs to go there, its surely not that hard to earn an honest crust?

One organization working for proper news values is Media Workers Against the War, set up at the time of the first Gulf War, but now covering wider issues, though of course with a special interest in Iraq. It’s a site worth keeping an eye on, and supporting.

More about the Naked Bike Ride, and some of the problems I have with it in a later note.

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